Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Boeing 787 Dreamliner flies at last, to the delight of the whole Pacific Northwest

Earlier today, The Boeing Company's next-generation jet airliner, the 787 Dreamliner, finally took flight amidst a backdrop of cloudy gray sky. The test flight, which began after 10 AM this morning, came to an end just a few hours later when Dreamliner No. #1 touched down at Boeing Field - also known as King County International Airport - in Seattle.

Elected leaders were quick to issue celebratory comments about the test flight, with Senator Maria Cantwell being the first out of the gate. Here's an excerpt of her statement, sent to NPI earlier today via email:
I want to offer a special congratulations to Boeing’s exceptionally productive and skilled work force in Washington state who made this historic first flight a reality. Watching all their hard work take flight today is truly evidence that American workers can compete and win to build the best products in the world.

The Dreamliner adds to the long list of breakthrough Boeing aircraft created in Washington, including the 707, 747 and the 777, which revolutionized commercial air travel. Thanks to composite material, the 787 will be the world’s most efficient and environmentally friendly aircraft, helping both the consumer as well as the environment.
Senator Patty Murray appropriately focused her praise on Washington's aerospace workers, who were slighted by Boeing just weeks ago when the company announced its decision to build a second 787 production line in South Carolina:
I want to congratulate all of the dedicated Washington state workers who have spent so many years making today’s historic flight a reality. From the engineers who created this groundbreaking design, to the Machinists who put this plane together piece by piece, everyone has had a hand in writing this new chapter in our state’s proud history of technological leadership and innovation. As today proves, when it comes to our state’s workers, the sky is not only the limit, it’s often the destination.
Governor Chris Gregoire released a statement from Copenhagen, where she is participating in the worldwide climate summit, saying:
Congratulations to the men and women of the Boeing Company on this historic day. The graceful takeoff of the 787 on its maiden voyage is a testament to the vision of the company's leadership, the ingenuity of its engineers, and the skill of its machinists. I am also looking forward to maiden flights of the 747-8 and hopefully the Air Force's next mid-air refueling tanker to build on the success of this great day. The climate change summit in Copenhagen has highlighted for me the need to emphasize new technologies in the future that improve energy efficiency, and the new 787 is just such a plane.
Even Boeing's chief competitor, Airbus, graciously extended its congratulations. The company's vice president of communications, Clay McConnell, said in a news release:
Airbus salutes the people of Boeing on this important day in their history. The first flight of the 787 is a real achievement and it underscores the continual advancements in commercial aircraft that come about because of healthy competition.
SPEEA, the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace, has also released a statement, which is available on their website. We haven't heard from the Machinists yet but we wouldn't be surprised if they update their website shortly.


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